Listening to the rationalization today from commissioner David Stern and league vice president Stu Jackson, I still don’t feel any better about Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw sitting out tonight’s Game 5. Cheap Shot Bob delivered his biggest shot of the playoffs -- maybe of the season -- when he body-checked Steve Nash into the boards at the end of Game 4.
Deion Sanders never hit anybody that hard. So with the Spurs about to lose at home and Robert Horry obviously frustrated they gave away the lead in the fourth quarter, Cheap Shot Bob changes the whole complexion of the series. Not with a 3-pointer. With a 3-point takedown.
Stoudemire and Diaw acted as any human would when their MVP, the two-time MVP, went sprawling after a senseless and stupid play. That’s not basketball. That’s not a hard foul. There’s no need for a hard foul there. Steve wasn’t shooting a layup. If you want to foul him, wrap him up. Grab a hold of his jersey. Swipe at the ball.
Don’t be an idiot, Cheap Shot Bob. Too late for that.
But who pays? The Suns. Stu Jackson actually said that when Tim Duncan left the bench in the second quarter, it was out of concern for his teammate Francisco Elson who fell after landing on Phoenix’s James Jones. So are you telling me Stoudemire and Diaw weren’t concerned. And if Duncan took a couple more steps, might a confrontation have started?
And it’s been pointed out that none of the Spurs left the bench. Why would they? Tell me what would have happened if Jalen Rose had cold-cocked Tim Duncan. I'm pretty sure someone would have gone 20-25 feet away from the bench area.
Had the league not suspended Stoudemire and Diaw, would anyone have complained? Yes, the Spurs would have. I’m sure behind the scenes they lobbied hard for the suspensions. But NBA fans would have applauded the league for using some common sense and following the spirit of the law.
Stoudemire and Diaw didn’t escalate the situation. They got back to the bench in plenty of time and never got close to the altercation on the court. Cheap Shot Bob also threw a forearm at Raja Bell.
So the guy (Cheap Shot Bob) that hit two people (Nash and Bell) gets a two-game penalty. Two guys that didn’t come close to touching anyone get the same punishment -- a game each for Stoudemire and Diaw equals two games.
That’s not right. If the Spurs win tonight and perhaps go on to win the title, they should send Stern and Jackson a playoff share. Cheap Shot Bob ought to get two.